Polytropon freebsd at edvax.de
Thu Aug 16 03:01:35 UTC 2018

On Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:48:44 -0400, Mason Loring Bliss wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 01:43:23AM +0200, Polytropon wrote:
> > Remember:
> > 
> > Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
> > Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
> > Top-posting.
> > What is the most annoying thing in e-mail?
> > 
> > And:
> > 
> > Yes.
> > Are you sure?
> > Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation.
> > Why is top posting frowned upon?
> I want to steal all of this now.
> Thank you. From my perspective, anything other than interleaved posting is an
> abomination. Bottom posting containing pages of cruft is just as bad as top
> posting.

All this highly depends on the matter that is discussed, with
whom it is discussed, and the context (informal, technical,
personal, etc.). Trimming a message to what should be in there
is subject to "thinking before writing". It often happens
in technical discussions that more than one question is
handled within one message, and maybe even several threads
(or topics) are being dealt with in one message. It's also
good for reference purposes in public mailing lists when
you can just read the last message of a thread in order
to learn how the result came to be, for example, from a
problem description through diagnostic material and
suggestions for repair up to a working solution - in _one_

While the typical use of top poisting is yes/no questions
in business context, while keeping all the cruft (which
nobody reads) at the bottom. This is what people in offices
seem to expect and demand, so they provide it.

Strange world...

On the other hand - and I can only speak for myself, of
course -, investing some time into properly formatting a
message, dealing with the text I reply to, and writing my
own text with paying attention to at least the most basic
rules of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, is to show
_respect_ for my conversational counterpart. Just barfing
some misspelled words infront of a message is - in my
opinion - a sign of disrespect, and it doesn't get any
better when it happens the same way at the message bottom.
Of course this all depends on context; sometimes a quick
reply in a hurry is fully valid.

Mailing lists are an ecosystem where participation often
encourages you to follow some rules or suggestions, and
the quality of your contributions is judged by how good
you do on all levels of content and form. A technical
mailing list such as this one has of course different
standards than your typical teenager neighborhood party
mailing list. :-)

> If our tools make it hard to write email properly, we need better tools. Then
> again, maybe people need to have a better introduction to good tools.

I think this is the key. Knowledge of good tools _and_ the
ability (and willingness) to learn them makes conversations
via email enlightening, useful, entertaining - whatever they
need to be in a given context.

Tools matter a lot. Just like programming languages, some
of them make it hard (or even impossible) to follow certain
recommendations, and that makes them bad tools. If you have
the ability to choose your tools, exchange bad tools for
better tools. People who deal with physical objects to this
all the time. This is the reason nobody really uses a saw
to drive a nail into the wall, and suggesting to do so just
because "everyone else" does it that way will only result
in a strange shaking of the head. :-)

> Maybe documentation is the answer.

In my opinion, "mind share" is important. Nobody wants to read
dry documentation. Sadly, "everyone" is subjected to the use
of web mailers (and Google's in particular), so it might _seem_
there are no alternatives. Older people *cough* *cough* will
know better, of course, as they have started using email with
non-web tools in many cases, and their mind is often more open
and accessible for new thoughts. It is interesting why the
generations who have grown up with certain technology aren't
interested in learning more about it in order to benefit from
it in a better (faster, more efficient, more comfortable, or
easier) way...

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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